332-day kayak around Australia

Last updated 11:38 15/12/2009
Freya Hoffmeister
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/The Press
TRIP NEARS END: After paddling around NZ's South Island, Freya Hoffmeister took on the slightly larger task of circumnavigating Australia.

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After 332 days, the first woman to circumnavigate Australia in a sea kayak is expected to arrive in Victoria on Tuesday.

German national Freya Hoffmeister will complete the 13,000km journey 28 days faster than the only other successful journey by New Zealander Paul Caffyn in 1982.

Hoffmeister departed Queenscliff, on Victoria's southwest coast, on January 18, 2009, dodging salt water crocodiles, sharks, sea snakes and deadly jelly fish while still paddling up to 60 kilometres every day for the last 11 months.

The former gymnast, body builder and skydiver has been kayaking since 1997 and circumnavigated Iceland in 2007, before a solo trip around the treacherous coastline of New Zealand's South Island.

In addition to her sporting prowess, the Germany-based Hoffmeister has built up a chain of seven franchise ice cream cafes, a salad bistro and a Christmas shop.

Victorian sea kayak club president Peter costello said Hoffmeister's achievement was hard to beat.

"There are hundreds of kilometres of sheer cliffs without any landing zones, massive surf, exposed crossings, cyclones and tropical heat that take their toll on the body," he said in a statement.

"Freya has inspired the sea kayaking community everywhere she has landed throughout Australia and we're all incredibly proud of her efforts."

Hoffmeister will be greeted by supporters in Queenscliff, near the Port Phillip Sea Pilots Station about 12pm (AEDT) on Tuesday.

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- AAP

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